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‘This is about politics,’ says Sarasota superintendent Aspren after board approves resignation

The Sarasota County Board of Education formally severed ties with the superintendent Tuesday night and named an acting leader from within the district.

Despite hearing words of support from dozens of parents and teachers during public comment, the board’s new conservative majority voted to negotiate a separation with Brennan Asprene between lawyers and the school board. Voted 4 to 1 to accept the deal.

The contract includes 32 weeks of severance and will cost the school district at least $170,000.

Tom Edwards, the only moderate on the board, put forward a motion to keep Asplen, but no one supported it. “We tried,” Edwards said after the vote.

“This is not in the student’s best interests,” Edwards added.

Tom Edwards in a blue shirt and dress coat at a school board meeting

sarasota county schools



Tom Edwards is now the only liberal on the Sarasota Board of Education

In his final comments, Aspren said he was shocked that the board called for him to be fired just seven minutes after he was sworn in on Nov. I complained about the atmosphere.

“Some of the social media posts I’ve seen recently were sent to me about political tactics that affect education not just in our county, but statewide. I believe we should listen,” Aspren said.

“This is about politics, people.”

Aspren, who describes himself as a conservative Republican, cited a social media post by Florida Rep. Randy Fine, who is also a Republican.

“And it’s a picture of me, a picture of another Superintendent, a picture of Governor DeSantis. And State Representative Fine said, ‘Our Superintendent’s bang is making national news. , we’re just getting started.” So it’s pretty political. “

He went on to quote an article on Florida politics recently shared online by Christian, who is the husband of school board chairman Ziegler and the vice chairman of the Florida Republican Party.

“He posted: ‘Well, the weekly game of winners and losers begins. Winner: Honorable Mention: Bridget Ziegler. Sarasota County School Board Chairman and co-founder of Moms of Liberty’ The school board and Aspren are negotiating a resignation package in the wake of last month’s election results.

The article wasn’t written by Christian Ziegler, but Aspren wondered why he would post it on his social media pages.

“The first question is Miss Ziegler, who was mentioned in this post as chairman of the school board. Do you feel that it is in line with your vision of civility and your stand against bullying?

“Second question, as the proud co-founder of Moms for Liberty, could you please share with the community what the playbook is and where I can find a copy? Would you be able to understand it clearly and transparently?

Bridget Ziegler holds his neck and stares left at a school board meeting.

sarasota county schools



Bridget Ziegler was named school board chairman last month

“First of all, I speak for myself. My husband can answer those questions individually,” Ziegler said.

“Second, I think this is a perfect demonstration of how you can’t own transparency,” she said.

Aspren also refuted accusations of nepotism thrown at him during the public comment period, stating that he and his wife should ensure that they are ethically complied with before the school board’s attorney takes a job in the district. His wife was also asked to resign.

In response to Aspren’s question, Ziegler said: “I think there are now many situations, scenarios, where when I raise an area of ​​concern, the Superintendent is brought up with an opportunity for improvement. increase.

“And I think, time and time again, whether he’s new here, or he’s — or someone else’s fault, there’s always some other-place bias. Stability is very important and we look forward to a brighter tomorrow for Sarasota County Schools.”

The board said Sarasota chief academic officer Chris Renouf will lead until an interim superintendent is elected. A nationwide search is expected.

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